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Old July 22, 2011, 11:00 PM   #1
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help identify please

I purchased this at an auction, its about 10" long. It has "3 dot" marks in four places on the gun and proof mark. It came in a glass case with civil war mini balls and a georgia state militia confederate button....is this pistol civil war era perhaps?
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Old July 23, 2011, 06:21 AM   #2
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It's a type of boot pistol commonly used during the period.
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Old July 23, 2011, 06:26 AM   #3
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The general pattern would certainly have been around during the Civil War, but the proof mark is very weird; it resembles the French St. Etienne mark of a crown over crossed palms, but I can't find any examples with the "SEE" lettering. Both the French and the Belgians would have made as many of this type of pistol as they could churn out at the time, and the pattern hung around until these were replaced by cartridge guns towards the end of the 1800s.
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Old July 23, 2011, 08:53 AM   #4
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Could it be "SFE" in the proof as opposed to "SEE"?
There are "3 dot" markings on the hammer, barrel and under the trigger guard. The dots are in a triangular shape...does this help identify it? I appreciate your efforts.

Thanks.
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Old July 23, 2011, 07:05 PM   #5
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It is the French St. Etienne proof (Wirnsberger, P. 132), but that source says it dates only from 1869, which I would think a bit late for that kind of pistol, unless it was made for the colonial trade. Anyway, no doubt as to its country of origin. It has little collector interest or value, at least in the U.S. Retail might be $100+ as a novelty.

Civil War? Unless Wirnsberger is wrong, no. It is, however the kind of pistol that was sometimes carried by soldiers for close up defense. I suspect the person who put the exhibit together didn't bother to check further.

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Old July 23, 2011, 07:47 PM   #6
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My buddy has a Belgen double barrel one that his dad dug up.
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Old August 12, 2011, 03:09 PM   #7
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It is definately a boot pistol. I have 2 of them that I inherited from my grampa. This is one that he donated to a museum. It has a folding knife on it. One of the two I have in the safe does not have the knife on it. Here is a pic of the one grampa donated to the museum.

Note the one in the pic is a .32 cal. The two I have are both .36 cal.

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Old August 13, 2011, 01:07 AM   #8
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It's not "SEE" or "SFE". The large "E" is "Eprovee" and the smaller "S E" is "St. Etienne."
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